Nature is replete with examples of apparently different physical behavior as manifestations of the same phenomenon. So, we can say that we understand something better when this apparent complexity is framed in terms of an underlying simplicity. Some well-known examples include electricity + magnetism (= electromagnetism), and projectile motion and orbits (= Newtonian gravity), etc.

A few years back there was an article in Scientific American called Quantum Gravity in Flatland that (if memory serves) alluded to the possibility that the strong nuclear force and what we call gravity are actually different manifestations of the same thing. This is undoubtedly an old idea. Given the history of physics, this would not be so surprising if proven true. After some poking around, I found Why are the 'color-neutral' gluons confined?, which is supposed to be a duplicate of Is Gravity a part of the Strong Nuclear Force?. (The first discussion curiously does not include the words 'gravity' or 'graviton'.)

We see that both are attractive forces, but what else is out there that would give merit to the idea that gravity and the strong nuclear force are indeed different aspects of a "graviti-strong force"?

  • $\begingroup$ Are your links backwards? Is Gravity a part of the strong nuclear force is closed as a duplicate of Why are the color neutral gluons confined (with a rather useful pair of comments by rob & ACuriousMind that explain why it's closed). $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 21:06
  • $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos, the links are correct. It's because of this confusion that I thought some clarification was needed. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 26, 2015 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ The strong nuclear force is attractive, but it increases with distance (see The Strengths of the Known Forces), whereas gravity gets weaker. Since the former behaves approximately as a 1-dimensional case (between two quarks) and the latter is spread over a 3-D space, it sounds logical. $\endgroup$
    – gox
    Commented Sep 27, 2015 at 0:25
  • $\begingroup$ An interesting view of gravity: rhythmodynamics.com/rd_2007en.htm#gravitation $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 11:23
  • $\begingroup$ This was a nice popular article on one mathematical approach that at least kind of suggests there may be something underlying both: quantamagazine.org/… $\endgroup$
    – JPattarini
    Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 1:43

1 Answer 1


So far as we know, they're not related at all.

Not only are the length scales and coupling constants extraordinarily different, but the two interactions have different symmetries: they transform differently under rotations. The color force transforms like a vector (sometimes re-stated as "gluons have spin one"), while gravitation transforms like a tensor (sometimes re-stated as "if a graviton were ever observed, we would expect it to have spin two").

  • $\begingroup$ Rob, I know this is extraordinarily old, but if you’re still active could you provide some links backing up your answer? Not that I don’t trust your answer, but would like to read more on the subject $\endgroup$
    – TCooper
    Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 3:33
  • $\begingroup$ The connection between the spin of a particle (or field) and the way it behaves under rotations and boosts is part of the argument that goes into proving the spin-statistics theorem. I don't have a concise reference handy, and I recall having trouble finding a good concise reference in the past. Might be worth a follow-up question. $\endgroup$
    – rob
    Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 13:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ is the vector-tensor relationship not a micro-macro relationship? In other words, isn't it possible for a summation of a large population of randomly oriented vector forces to exhibit the properties of a "tensor" (i.e. force source that is structurally invariant under rotation)? $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 12:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Christopher That sounds like a new question; see How to Ask. $\endgroup$
    – rob
    Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ Recent work on the double-copy shortcut seems to provide at least some hint that there may be a gauge/gravity connection, right? $\endgroup$
    – JPattarini
    Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 1:41

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